"A Peek at Michael Skakel's Memoirs;
Book Proposal Describes Night of Moxley Murder."
By J.A. Johnson Jr., Greenwich Time

Michael Skakel promises in a planned memoir to repudiate suspicions he murdered Greenwich teenager Martha Moxley in 1975, but in the book proposal circulated last year he does not proclaim outright innocence.

In his proposal for "Dead Man Talking: A Kennedy Cousin Comes Clean," Skakel vows to provide an expose on "America's Royal Family" - the Kennedy family Skakel's aunt Ethel married into - that will shed light on drug and alcohol abuse, marital infidelities, alleged rapes and other crimes and indiscretions by his famed relations.

The proposal also outlines a chapter to be devoted to the night Skakel's 15- year-old neighbor was slain with a golf club police said was owned by the Skakel family.

In the chapter, to be called "Murder Most Foul," Skakel states he will reveal "the who, what, when, where, how of that evening's surreal, nightmarish and, ultimately, tragic events," discuss his relationship with Moxley, explain why he lied to investigators, and "where I really was and what I really did."

The book proposal, shopped around in June 1998 by the Vigliano Associates literary agency in Manhattan, resulted from Skakel's collaboration with Richard Hoffman, listed as co-author of "Dead Man Talking." Agency head David Vigliano yesterday said the proposal was withdrawn as a result of a grand jury investigation of the Moxley murder that began in July 1998.

"We're waiting to see how things play out," Vigliano said.

Michael and brother, Thomas, both of whom police said were with Moxley the night she was slain, are the only identified suspects. Based on the witnesses who have testified, Michael Skakel appears to be the main target of the probe.

One of those witnesses, Skakel's co-author, Hoffman, appeared before the grand jury Jan. 29 to give testimony concerning the book collaboration. In addition to his testimony, Hoffman provided the grand jury with nine hours of taped conversations he had with Skakel in preparation for the book, according to Skakel's defense lawyer, Michael Sherman.

The book proposal, obtained this week by Greenwich Time, provides the following account of the night of Oct. 30, 1975:

Skakel, along with three of his brothers, his sister, a cousin and a friend began the evening by dining at The Belle Haven Club, accompanied by the Skakel family's newly hired tutor, Kenneth Littleton. Skakel had several rum and tonics with dinner and continued drinking upon returning home.

"We were all drinking my father's booze, hanging around, playing backgammon, and feeling like - or at least trying to act like - grown-ups," Skakel wrote.

It was then they decided to go to cousin James Terrien's house in backcountry Greenwich to watch "Monty Python's Flying Circus," on television and smoke marijuana. Before leaving, however, Skakel drank some more, and a group of neighborhood friends that included Moxley arrived at his house.

"I remember standing in the kitchen drinking with Littleton and telling him that I thought Martha was really pretty," Skakel wrote. "After a while I saw her through the window, standing a little aside from the others, so I went out and asked her if she wanted to hang out and smoke a cigarette in my father's Lincoln."

Inside the car, Skakel tried convincing Moxley to go with him to his cousin's, but she turned him down on account of an early curfew.

"I really liked her. I wanted to kiss her. I wanted her to be my girlfriend, but I was going slow, being careful," Skakel wrote. "The truth is that with Martha I felt a little shy. I thought that maybe if we spent the evening together at my cousin's something romantic might develop between us."

Though Moxley declined the invitation, she promised to spend time with her neighbor the following night.

"Tomorrow night, she said," Skakel wrote. "She'd touched me. It was a promise. I nearly swooned with joy. . Tomorrow night, I thought. Tomorrow night I'll kiss her."

Skakel then left to drive to Terrien's house with his cousin and three of his brothers, leaving Moxley standing outside the Skakel residence with a group of friends and another brother, Thomas Skakel. At Terrien's house, Skakel "smoked a lot of pot and drank some more and laughed through the whole Python show."

Wandering into a cousin's bedroom, "I lay on the bed . thinking of her. I was sleepy with booze and pot. I wanted to fall asleep. . And the next day would become tomorrow night and I would see Martha. I roused myself."

Upon returning home with his brothers, Skakel went to bed, but was restless. "I couldn't settle down," he wrote. "A part of me really wanted to go to sleep, but I was keyed up, nervous and horny. After a little while longer, still unable to fall asleep, I kicked off the covers and decided, '(Screw) it. I'm going back out.' "

The book proposal's outline for the "Murder Most Foul" chapter ends there. Sherman, the Stamford defense lawyer who has been representing Skakel in connection with the grand jury, said "no comment" when asked if there is a completed manuscript in which his client explains what happened next.

But a version of Skakel's account of what he did when he returned outside the evening of Oct. 30, 1975 is contained in 1995 draft report prepared by Sutton Associates, a detective agency hired by Skakel defense attorneys.

"He went to the window of Martha Moxley's room and made an effort to contact Martha by calling out her name," the Sutton report states. "After his efforts proved unsuccessful, Michael states he masturbated in a tree outside her window before returning home."

According to Greenwich police, Skakel initially told detectives that upon returning home from Terrien's he went to bed and did not leave his house until the following morning.

Sherman yesterday said his client stood by the revised account.

"Obviously, the Sutton version has been put out there, and if and when there is ever a trial in this case, Michael will explain in detail what his actions were, which certainly had nothing to do with the murder of Martha Moxley," Sherman said.